Varnish MFG

The list of marine varnish products and manufacturers is quite large and includes Awlgrip Alspar phenolic tung oil varnish, Bristol finish an acrylic urethane, Epifanes Tung oil phenolic alkyd resin clear, West Marines Admirals alkyd, Sikkens Rubbol alkyd oil and Petit Bak-V-Spar Varnish, Interlux Sikkens and Detco Vinyl resin. With such a large field of producers what really sets these products apart.
Polyurethane produced by Interlux Sikkens and Detco Vinyl resin can provide all of the same features as varnishes but with greater hardness and better sand ability than other finishes. However this also makes the product prone to cracking followed by water damage. Petit Bak-V-Spar is Traditional tung-linseed oil/phenolic resin varnish, formulated with UV absorbers for maximum sun durability. This product has a long wet-edge time with high-film build properties and extremely durable finish. Providing excellent water resistance, great flexibility and UV protection. Rarely are there compatibility problems between Single component finishes,
Authors tip: Need a fast dry time? Choosing a product with Toluene or Naphtha these volatiles will greatly accelerate drying times.

Tools required: Must include a good charcoal filter respirator as well as various scrapers, a heat gun, files sanding blocks, orbital Sander, bronze wool, lots of masking tape, tack cloths, screen paint filters for removing contaminants from varnish, Scotch-Brite pads, and a vacuum cleaner. Aluminum oxide paper It’s expensive, but I find it will last 4 to 5 times longer that saves money and time, grit size will range from 60 - 320 grit Badger haired brushes are absolutely the best

Surface preparation:  Before starting to sand tape all adjacent areas to protect from damage by sandpaper. If the surface is in good to fair condition wash the surface, then sand with 220 or 320 wipe with a tack rag or dampened rag to remove dust. Varnish that shows any discoloration lifting cracking peeling it must be removed completely. A heat gun may be used to soften varnish, which can then be removed with a sharp blade scraper then begin with a low grit number 80 - 100 grit always sanding in the direction of the grain, use successively higher sandpaper numbers up to about 200 grit paper. Clean the workspace frequently to reduce dust, before you varnish use of a vacuum is essential. Next wipe the wood down with a tack rag. Replace any masking tape damaged by the previous sanding operation. Removing old varnish that has penetrated deep into the wood grain is done with a heavy gritted sandpaper 60 or 80 after scuffing the surface. In the shade apply paint stripper to the area wrap with tinfoil and allow the varnish time to be softened by the paint stripper after a few hours the varnish will be pulled up from the wood grain and be more easily removed. I you do not know what finish material is currently on the bright work, wet a rag with acetone place it on the finish for five to 10 minutes, if the coating remains hard it’s a two-part epoxy. Oiled wood: will need to be cleaned thoroughly especially if you intend to use varnish or polyurethane. Scrubbing lightly with soft bristle brush using a one-step teak cleaner should turn the trick. Failing to clean all of the oil will prevent the varnish or polyurethane from to bonding properly with the wood surface.


One day Varnishing Two-part applications products with UV protection can provide up to four times longer life than traditional products. Applications of two-part polyurethane may be applied as little as one hour apart and require only four applications to achieve the same protection level as eight layers of spar varnish. Problems may occur when using one part finish on top of a two-part varnish because the one part finish it may act like paint remover.
Products that can save time completing the application in one day are Bristol finish this acrylic urethane with a second coat wait time between one to 24 hours. Other time savers Epifanes wood finish gloss and Epifanes rapid clear eliminate sanding between coats. Both Epifane products may be used with oil-based stains and may be applied over epoxy. Cetol is an alkaloid based and contains iron pigments to protect against UV. It is easy to apply and should the coating begin to dull rub with Scotch-Brite, rinse with water and reapply the product. Amazon teak luster is one-part product water-based acrylic coating that may be applied over teak oils, it has a fast drying time and three coats may be applied in one afternoon.

Warning one-part petroleum-based products will blister and lift all two-part finishes.

Never shake a can of varnish it will make tiny bubbles and render the material unusable for a long period of time. Stir gently and never shake varnish Portion off a small volume into another vessel to prevent cross contamination of the caned material use a filter screen when necessary. Thinning the product up to 50% on the initial coat will help the product to penetrate deeply into the wood, creating a stronger bond. The second application will be thinned 20%. The third coating will be thinned by about 10% subsequent coatings are full strength.
Teak Oil AKA wiping varnish should be thinned 25% allowing multiple applications in one afternoon sand between coats for the first three applications. After the third coat it is not necessary to sand unless there is a defect. Vacuum the area after each sanding and use a tack rag to remove dust. You will want to build up seven to ten layers. After waiting a day or two apply the second to last coat sand with 300 paper vacuum clean the area wipe with a tack rag and apply final coat. Always replace damaged masking tape during the course of work.
Badger haired brushes are absolutely the best for loading up with varnish. You will need several brushes ranging in size from 1 to two-inch after completing work the brushes are washed in spirits and stored in kerosene. Before reusing brushes rinse them in solvent several times to get them clean of the kerosene. But, and however with two-part polyurethane applications you will need disposable brushes to throw away after that day’s job is finished.

How long will your varnish look good? A two-part product application should last probably three or four years? I like teak oil and make time for three applications during the course of summer. I clean the wood with mild soap and minimize sanding reapply the oil. The work takes a morning and part of an afternoon. The use of canvas covers for brightwork will extend the life between refinishing.
copyright2008 Terry Capp



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